Public meetings scheduled for Massasoit National Wildlife Refuge draft comprehensive conservation plan

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is accepting public comments through May 16, 2017, on a proposed 15-year plan for managing wildlife, habitat and public uses at Massasoit National Wildlife Refuge.

Two public meetings about the refuge draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan  and Environmental Assessment  will be held Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at the Plymouth Public Library, 132 South Street. The first meeting runs from 2 to 4 pm; the second meeting runs from 6 to 8 pm.

Refuge staff will give a short presentation on the draft plan at the meetings, and stations will be set up for attendees to meet refuge staff and learn more about the proposals. Public comments will be accepted at the meeting. Comments may also be mailed or faxed any time up to May 16, 2017.

To submit comments, obtain additional information, or request the plan in hard copy or on CD-ROM, contact Libby Herland, Refuge Manager, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by e-mai at l libby_herland@fws.gov (please put “Massasoit CCP” in subject line). A copy of the draft CCP/EA is available for review in the reference room of the Plymouth Public Library, and can be viewed on line at http://www.fws.gov/refuge/massasoit/what_we_do/conservation.html.

Massasoit NWR was established in 1983 to protect the Plymouth red belly turtle, which is now known as the northern red-bellied cooter.  The 209-acre refuge is located on three parcels in the Town of Plymouth.  The largest parcel contains Crooked Pond and is adjacent to the Myles Standish State Forest.  The Service currently contributes to range-wide cooter population recovery goals by protecting existing pond and shoreline habitat on the refuge from human disturbance, creating and maintaining high quality nesting habitat, and increasing nest success and hatchling survival. We also manage mixed pine-oak forest and other upland habitats to reduce hazardous fuel loading through mechanical clearing and prescribed fire. The refuge has been closed to public use since its establishment to limit disturbance to the cooter.

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